Wednesday, December 03, 2008


(Click on image to enlarge. Memory Art Quilt. 2008. 24 1/2" x 32 1/2". Grave rubbings in crayon on silk. Hand and machine embroidered.)

(Click on image to enlarge. Detail of Memory Art Quilt.)
This post is really long since I haven't written in over a week. Thus, I put the "fiber" related images first! Enjoy!)

(Obviously, I'm still under the spell of the kantha cloth and all the textural surfaces created by their simple running stitches.)

I've been working on this quilt for several weeks....hand-stitching every night before I go to bed. I don't seem to want the edges bound....just raw with the blanket stitch. I feels right to me.

It's been just over a week since I last posted. Time is flying it always does during the holidays. This year, however, seems different. For one thing, there's CYBER FYBER looming on the horizon. I've been up to my elbows in preparations. Everything really is falling into place, but it requires plenty of attention. It is very exciting. In fact, the chic, artsy magazine Undefined just came out with an article in it. It's so new that I haven't yet found one in any of the local shops that stock's on-line....Book Four, starting on page 30. I'll scan and post just the CYBER FYBER article when I get a "real" copy. Other magazine articles are currently being written, press releases are being sent (and available here!), Fiber Day (in partnership with Creative Sewing Center) has a schedule of events now, and I've just gotten 5000 4" x 6" cards to distribute in other galleries, shops, restaurants, etc. I'm in the process of updating the entire CYBER FYBER site....getting ready to create the on-line exhibition.

For another thing, this is our first Thanksgiving without Alex. In a rage, he left home last February. He flunked out of the eleventh grade but we've been told he is enrolled in adult education. We don't know where he lives (though we think he's no longer in his girlfriend's car). He turned eighteen in September. For the past six years Alex performed in the local, civic production of the Nutcracker....despite the fact that he's not a dancer! Alex is a brilliant actor....when he wants to be one! Generally, Alex has been a party gentleman, a rat, and Mother Ginger. Steve and I just couldn't bear the idea of attending this production without seeing him in it. We decided months ago to spend the weekend in Washington, DC.

Then, we learned that my parents could come for Thanksgiving Day. They'd be traveling back home to Pennsylvania from their time-spare in Florida. We planned a small feast for Thursday and an early departure on Friday and dad going home and us going to Washington, DC. (We all had a terrific time and ate well! It was just two days before my parents' 50th wedding anniversary!)

A week before Thanksgiving I accidentally learned that Alex was, indeed, performing in the Nutcracker....Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just after Thanksgiving. The only thing worse than seeing the show without him would be seeing the show with him. Either way, I'd end up in tears. So, we decided to go to Washington, DC as planned. I'm glad we did. We had a wonderful time....seeing all sorts of shows and art while trying to forget that our family is in ruins.

Steve and I went to see San Francisco Ballet's Giselle at the Kennedy Center. Likely, this is my favorite classical ballet; the show was marvelous. It was nice to see Sasha de Sola and Gaetano (Guy) Amico, two dancers we've known from Mathias' days at the Kirov Academy of Ballet, and Mathias' friend Isaac Hernandez. Tina LeBlanc and Gennadi Nedvigin danced the leads but I was more impressed with Rachel Viselli as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, and Pascal Molat as Hilarion, the gamekeeper.

We also went to Wooly Mammoth Theater to see Boom, a fantastic new play (2007) by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Aubrey Deeker, Kimberly Gilbert, and Sarah Marshall were directed by John Vreeke in this sold out production that has already been scheduled for an extended run. It was absolutely terrific. Generally, I don't attend live theater because my hearing isn't very good; but the new theater's acoustic and the professional abilities of each actor to project his/her voice made every funny word clear. The set was perfect; the lighting was perfect; the acting was perfect. This show ran for a straight ninety minutes, no intermission; and, everyone sat on the edge of his seat, totally wrapped up in the play. I feel sure this show will travel to other theaters....and when it does, see it!

(Above: Addison Paige's art quilt on display and for sale at Teaism!)

Before the theater, Steve and I stopped into Teaism, a great chain of tea houses in the area. Many such places carry the work of local artists, but this was the first time I saw a fiber piece! I had to take a photo of Addison Paige's framed art quilt. Later I googled her name....and she's worth checking out! Quite talented!

Steve and I also saw Women of Our Time: 20th Century Photographs at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery. We love this sort of exhibition. The images are fantastic and the explanations make learning something so much fun. It's a blast to recognize a woman and then see that Edward Steichen snapped the image. It was fun to see what certain ladies looked like who were previously just a name in history.

(Above: Catherine Opie seated infront of one of her images projected onto a wall. This photo was in the show.)

Yet, the photo show that really resonated with me was Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. There were several images whose concepts are still haunting me, like Catherine Opie's work. I over-heard a few ladies who were quite upset with Opie's images, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. Presented in a straight-forward manner, I felt all the pain of being "different" but also the desire to be seen as a whole, worthwhile, talented person. I felt compassion. The work left quite an impression on me. In a sense, they were shocking but drew me in and made me think. These one of the three images made me want to really know this photographer and see more of her work.

(Above: Sally Mann's Jessie at 5, 1987.)
The images that I found most disturbing were those of sterotypical girly-girls in pretty pink settings! They were meant to be confronted, of course! They subtly made my skin crawl with the idea that this was supposed to be "perfect", an ideal that I was suppose to try to achieve. They made me think about what feminity means. We've also always admired Sally Mann's photography. (I've even framed one!) They make the viewer think too. It was an enlightening show and included this photo of Sally Mann's daughter that I found as powerful and challenging as Jessie as Jessie/Jessie as Madonna that I think I saw years ago at the Whitney in NYC.

(Above: Ellen Kochansky, Elizabeth Melton, Phil Moddy, Scott Peek. Panel discussion at 701 Contemporary Arts Center in Columbia.)
I've also gone to the newly opened 701 Contemporary Art Center to hear the panel discussion by the artists first exhibiting in the renovated textile mill, including Ellen Kochansky who is in the midst of a residency. I can't wait to see her installation of fiber arts that incorporates material and memories of the mill and the people who once lived and worked in the immediate area. I'm hoping to ask if I can send visitors to her on Fiber see her space, her plans, and an exhibition in progress.


jonio said...

OMG the quilt is fantastic!!! I think your idea to leave the edges unbound is great!

My heart goes out to you on your problems with your son. I will keep you in my prayers.

Doreen G said...

It was nice to know that Alex did participate after all and I can understand why you didn't go to see the show.Maybe sanity will prevail with him in the future.
Big hugs to you and Steve.

Aussie Jo said...

Your quilt is amazing. It would be interesting to incorporate rubbings into a type of family history, or perhaps some might find that offensive or morbid!
"jesse" reminds me of the furore/castigation that occurred here in Oz over the use/misuse of minors in artwork; the Bill Henson photos.
I sympathise with you both and Alex. We have a son who seems to be pushing us away but I really, actually know he needs and wants lots of love.

arlee said...

You've done perfect justice to those rubbings---no triteness, no excess sentiment, just the piece itself---sensitively and touchingly done.

Wanda said...

The memory art quilt is amazing. And I think art is supposed to invoke thought and feeling. That's why art is what it is to the beholder. Remember in London...those balls on sticks? Well, one person's horror is another person's beauty. I'm so glad you had a good time doing what you and steve love in DC. and I'm glad you got to see some of the young people you've known for so long dance. No matter what the personal connection or relationship, to watch them grow and mature must be wonderful. Alex is on his own path. That path will one day again cross with your own. And in the mean time, we pray that God continues to watch over him. I love you !

Karen said...

The silk rubbings have evolved into a wonderful quilt! You did an amazing job of putting them all together with such comprehension! Such a story it tells. Love the stitching that runs through it all.
So sorry that Alex is still distant. It is hard being a parent. At some point we hope our children will understand that it has always been love that motivates the interactions we have with them. As they mature sometimes it sinks in..